Nick Saban’s focus for the 2019 season was clear Friday after Alabama wrapped up its first spring football practice. 

There was a lot of housekeeping to do for the Crimson Tide with injured players and position movements. But even then, there was one message that applied to everyone on the team.

“The No. 1 goal and objective for the spring is we have to reestablish the Alabama factor, to me,” Saban said. “We’ve always been a team that’s played with tremendous amount of discipline, had a lot responsible and accountable guys that could go out there, do their job and be dependable. Everybody’s always put the team first.” 

That goes for those who are participating and not.

Defensive back Shyheim Carter (sports hernia) and linebacker Ben Davis (shin splint) will “be limited.” Carter has a chance to fully return soon.

As for last year’s injuries, defensive backs Trevon Diggs and Jalyn Armour-Davis, along with linebackers Terrell Lewis and Chris Allen, all “participated to some degree in the offseason programs” and then fully in the first practice. Defensive back Daniel Wright was not mentioned. 

Linebacker Ale Kaho wasn’t spotted at practice, but that didn’t sound injury related. 

“He’s got some issues he’s dealing with, and we’re trying to be supportive of him in any way that we can,” Saban said. “… I don’t know if he’ll, at some point in time, be ready to play football or not.”  

There was another noticeable absence at the linebacker position, as Cameron Latu worked with the tight ends.

“Obviously losing Hale (Hentges) and Irv (Smith Jr.), we’ve got some experience issues at tight end and also some depth issues,” Saban said. “Having another guy (Kedrick James) suspended for four games next year at that position, I mean, you’re taking three out of the first four guys that are gone. We need to get some people there.” 

James and offensive lineman Deonte Brown were suspended before Alabama’s College Football Playoff run last year due to a violation of team rules. 

So, all of this will have to get sorted out this spring, which continues on March 18 after Alabama’s spring break. Maybe then, the Crimson Tide can get back the Alabama factor.

“The result of that is we’ve been able to win a lot of games, guys have gotten a lot of individual accolades and a lot of opportunities to play at the next level, and we’ve been able to win a few championships,” Saban said. “So, I think it’s important to reestablish that.” 

Reach Terrin Waack at twaack@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0229.

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